Arsenal BoD’s Loyalty to Emery is Brave, Very Brave

Behind what hills does happiness hide, to lurk and plot its return?”

(From ‘At the loch of the Green Corrie’ by Andrew Greig).

If-Loving-Arsenal-Grey-Woman

So here we are on the first Monday of the last interlull: two points from the last four games and since the last interlull we have moved from a promising albeit flattering third position in the league to an equally flattering shared fifth position now. The gap with the top-four is a whopping eight points, so over just four PL games we have more or less imploded. The Chavs and the Foxes are firing on all cylinders and Pool and Citeh are in class of their own, despite the Northern Oilers current fourth position. Season over?!

Emery Rain

Of course it is only early days; another 26 PL games will have to be played this season. A good run could do miracles and we have the squad to do that.

There are, however, very few supporters left who believe that Emery has the ability to turn things round. Our players work hard but there is little belief in the way the team is set up and asked to play. Our best midfielders, with the exception of Emery’s pet project Guendouzi, have all had issues with Emery: Ozil was ostracized, Xhaka humiliated and Torreira messed about. Furthermore, Ramsey was not convinced to stay to flourish in Emery-ball and neither was Mkhi.

Instead, Emery convinced many fellow Gooners  that Guendouzi, Willock and possibly Ceballos are the future of Arsenal, and this may well be true. But that future, if it’s ever to come to fruition, is significantly disconnected from the here and now. Our current midfield set-up is at the level of relegation-battling teams which should be a real concern to everyone connected to the club.

Our defence is not great either but there is potential to become much better soon. The interlull will do Bellerin, Tierney and Holding good after a few hard games and you won’t tell me that Emery cannot put a good defence on the pitch with the sort of quality defenders we have. But of course ‘a defence’ will work much better if the whole team, and especially the midfield, also help defending.

I didn’t do my normal ‘eight observations’ after the LC game as I would just have been repeating myself; and if I am sick of this I am pretty sure you are too. But one thing I would have said is that despite Emery’s 3-4-3 formation and effectively putting seven defence-minded players on the pitch (excluding goalkeeper), we still were easily picked apart and crumpled as soon as the first goal went in. We lost by two but it could have been more.

Our attacking options are very good, we all know this, but to get the best out of them we need to play as a team with a system of football and appropriate tactics to let them strut their stuff. It must be said that Auba and Laca did not have a great game against the Foxes, but as a team Arsenal did not make up for this, and that is our biggest problem: we don’t defend as a team and don’t attack as a team, and the clue is in midfield.

The big question is how is it possible that we are still not a strong unit, a team bigger than the sum of its parts and on the road to somewhere? Forget our position in the league, it is now all about the existence of a plan, a road through the wilderness and collective belief in the future for players and supporters. The BoD and manager are failing in this and dark clouds have gathered above Ashburton Grove.

The BoD are apparently sticking with Emery till the end of the season at least, which is brave and should be applauded to some extent. However, after the current interlull there will be no respite: every game will have to be a battle for the points and failure will accumulate fast. With the lack of connection between manager and the players, both in terms of tactics and in man-management style, it is hard to see a way out of our fast descend towards midtable or worse. Many supporters are already looking at this season, with six months to go, as a write-off.

A football club and their supporters live by the hope and belief in better: in a vision of progress. The BoD have their work cut out to give us this.

By TotalArsenal.

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61 Responses to Arsenal BoD’s Loyalty to Emery is Brave, Very Brave

  1. proudgooner says:

    Hello TA.
    Sad state of affairs isn’t it.
    I laughed at United regularly since Fergie left watching them liding going though manager after manager in crisis.
    Now that could be us is we dont get the next manager right .
    Scary thought isn’t it as all all have an emotional attachment to this great club.
    I was always a Wengef stay man .
    But we needed a change I suppose.
    The problem was becoming a finish 4th mentallty club which is not good enough.
    We want to win the league.
    I dont care how good the top 2 are wd have to be better .

    For me I am going to throw Eddie Howe nsne back in the hat .

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PG, good to hear from you.

    I guess when it comes to ‘finish 4th mentality’ this is as much the BoD’s decision as it could be the manager’s. In hindsight few will disagree with Wenger stating that this was a goal on its own and worthy of pursuit.

    I believe we need a good interim manager and can only think of Wenger for this. Wenger should then help with finding the right successor, and I agree we don’t want to be a Manure… we need to get it right next time.

  3. proudgooner says:

    I would love to have Wenger back .
    He is still young enough just though .
    We have the players .
    That is a team j believe Wenger could do great things with .
    Just a dream stem though sigh lol

  4. proudgooner says:

    Excuse my typing, blimey.
    What is for sure is although Arsenal is s classy club who has not fired managers in the past .
    He is not Wenger and has not earnt the right to stay like Wenger had .
    U think it needs to be swift .
    Every body seems to be on the same page with this one.
    Let’s see what the board are made of it’s in there hands .

  5. proudgooner says:

    Arteta is a possibility for me after working so closely with Pep but is a risk.
    We need attacking football.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Arseteta is becoming a more attractive option, but yes it is a risk, PG. I just don’t know how he would function being the nr.1, which is very different from being a nr.2…

  7. proudgooner says:

    He was a good captain Arteta was .
    He was solid for us.
    He was a leader and a cleaver, a good football brain

  8. proudgooner says:

    The only thing that is keeping me sane atm is we are still above Spurs ha ha ha ha

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed PE, but being a good manager takes more than that. Not saying Arseteta hasn’t got this but… it is a black box, so we don’t know.

  10. proudgooner says:

    Yes it’s true maybe one for the future.
    Who would be your first choice?
    I would love to have the Ajax manager, but would he leave there to come to AFC?
    Brendon Rodgers of Eddie Howe could be persuaded.
    Roberto Martinez, Rafa or Michael Luadrup could do a job .
    There is options for sure .

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    PG, Wenger as interim first to stabilise things and then somebody with vision and good man-management and tactical skills. I like Wolves’ man Nuno a lot and then there is Koeman en Erik ten Hag indeed. There are more.

  12. goonereris says:

    Agree, TA Sticking with Emery is a bold position taken by the BoD, indeed and one I can’t quarrel with, if they stay the course to the end. It is not unlikely they don’t want to pass the message they are seeking a replacement so as not to make an already bad situation worse. Strike when he is least expecting it.

    Much as I would like to see him do it, I have lost faith in the manager’s ability to make the team play any differently. He has also displayed weakness in player management (as you alluded to in the post – Ramsey, Ozil, Mustafi, Pepe and then Xhaka), when backing his player/captain would have sent the right message to the rest of the squad. That’s how Wenger got Theo, Ramsey, Campbell and Song believing they were world beaters; by telling them complimentary stuff, daily.

    Thinking about how we couldn’t worry the Foxes’ defence on Saturday, I couldn’t help but think of one forgotten man who Arsenal sold recently: Alex Iwobi, and his ability to “shake the table” in attack, while being strong in possession. He is averaging two key passes a game and has scored 2 league goals (one Assist) for Everton. Surely, he would have been able to make a few crosses for Auba and Laca in that game, not to speak of given Kolasinac the passes to whip in some of his own. Well, what’s done is done.

  13. goonereris says:

    As for a likely replacement, there is Rafa, Allegri, Ljungberg, Arteta, and Enrique, for interim managers taking over mid-season. Long term, Arteta, Brendan Rodgers, Ronald Koeman and Roberto Martinez.

    Of the above, I would like Rafa, for his ability to get us organized and playing to potential again. But, I still think Rodgers or Arteta will be able to bring back our technical and entertaining style back.

  14. Admir says:

    Nobody knows what will happen until the next game. We have a few easy games (if there is such thing for Arsenal) before a nightmare schedule that will see us playing against big guns (Man City, Chelsea, Man United) and we might easily get closer to relegation zone than ever in Premier League era.

    My guess is, making big and expensive decisions is one thing but explaining them to the highest ranks is completely another.

    Edu and Raul don’t want to put themselves in a position where they have to explain their decision to 1) pay out Enemy and 2) hire another manager and add him to already big payroll to Kroenke. Raul is on a thin ice there as Enemy was his choice, completely out of blue. Also, Enemy plays (hides behind) a lot of young players and Kroenke wants players with resale value. Guendouzi is a golden goose in their eyes and so are Willock, Martinelli and Saka.

    It’s ironic how all those laughs we had at Man United under Moyes have come back haunting us. I don’t know if you recall all those moments with Moyes but there was a few big occasions when he showed that Man United shoes are way too big for him.

    Firstly, he said that it’s good to have Wayne Rooney when Robin van Persie is unavailable. It was a terrible thing to say and Rooney, a Man United legend already, probably didn’t take it well. Then he asked Nemanja Vidić, a CL winner and a rock-solid captain, to watch Phil Jagielka’s videos to see how he should play.

    I can completely imagine Enemy coming to Özil showing Banega’s videos and asking him to play like that.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Eris,

    Many called Pepe immediately an upgrade on Iwobi, which was both incorrect and insulting. Over time Pepe may prove superior but we are indeed missing Alex’s abilities upfront.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    I can also imagine, Admir, that Emery tells Torreira to be more like Guendouzi.

  17. proudgooner says:

    Iwobi and Ramsey were bad mistakes.
    Il give him credit it Guendouzi and big up to the maximum for Gabriel Martinez who is our best player atm btw .
    But it’s his tactics, his inability to know his best team STILL .
    His poor results, lack of identity or style that worry me also. We need British players who care about the club its essential look at liverpool and city and England core .
    He let them all go all of them I am sorry I like the guy .
    His just not the man for our club.
    Welbeck, Gibbs, wilshere , Walcott and Rambo the dragon .
    That was the heart of the team .
    Imo the player that I see giving his all and caring the most atm is Callum Chambers.
    Imo he should of been captain .

  18. jw1 says:

    The only sliver of light I’m seeing?
    Is the vote of confidence given to Emery by the club.
    The only other meaning would be to purposefully anger the supporters and fans that have expressed their lack of confidence in Unai Emery. Generally, there would be nothing said.

    Just find the timing of it being stated publicly*– a bit curious.
    (*Publicly, being broadcast from senior club officials via Ornstein)

    jw1

  19. proudgooner says:

    Well il get behind him and the team .
    I hope he turns it around.
    We may as well give him to the end of the season if that’s the boards take on it.
    I just hope if that’s what they are doing then if things dont get better , then they should identify the right boss to take as forward ,approach him and line him up for next season.
    Maybe this is what he needed to get him to get the football and spirit we need at this club.

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey TA, good that you decided to put up a post, I think… And even better that we have 2 weeks off from the Arsenal, IMO… Though, certainly, the internet (Goonersphere) will be taking no breaks, I’m sure…

    Once again, I think Admir gets closest to the heart of the matter–and, in truth, is probably “following the money” (to get answers as to what is really at play here) better than I.

    I still believe it’s wrong to say Enemy = Emery… Unless we also give clever names to all the other characters. Fail ($anhelli), Venal, Jo$h and $tan, etc., etc… But, also, I believe, we must look in the mirror at ourselves and ask what role we play. (Fan, backwards, in the mirror, spells Naf…which, if you add an f means something to the Brits, I’m pretty sure…) At this point, at Arsenal, EVERYBODY looks out for themselves and we’re as much the enemy as anybody else, I fear…

    We have less power, but we can always walk away… And, in a weeks time, I’m off to warmer climes, but (I fear…) I may have fast enough interweb and maybe even television access to our car crashes, er, matches before too long…not to mention the (spectacle of the) Goonersphere…

    😦

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Xhaka ‘hurt’ by hostile criticism (from BBC)

    Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka says he has been hurt by the “extreme hostility” directed towards him from the supporters, but has promised to prove his worth.
    Xhaka, 27, was stripped of the club captaincy after being involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October.
    The Switzerland midfielder has not played for the club since.
    “It was very hurtful and frustrating,” Xhaka told Swiss newspaper Blick.
    “I can’t understand a reaction like that even now, especially the vehemence of it and the extreme hostility directed against me.”
    Xhaka was booed as he walked off the pitch as he was substituted against Palace, prompting him to cup his ear, take his shirt off and head straight down the tunnel to the dressing room.
    “When my shirt number lit up on the fourth official’s panel and our own fans broke into gleeful jubilation, that hit me very hard and really upset me,” he added.
    “Insulting and swearing at your own captain will cause upset and a bad atmosphere for the team you are actually supposed to be supporting; that makes no sense to me and weakens the team’s spirit.”
    Arsenal manager Emery said last week that he was unsure whether the midfielder would play for the club again, adding that “he was not ready” to return for Saturday’s match at Leicester, which the Gunners lost 2-0.
    Xhaka, though, says he is fully committed to the club and is ready to move on from the incident.
    “I’ve been 100% behind the club and my role as a player since I came here,” he said.
    “I’m proud to be playing for this big club. I’ll continue to stay positive, give my all to an even greater extent and prove that I’m an important part of this great team.
    “Last week in particular was a very special, emotional experience for me but I’m doing very well again, I’ve trained well this week and am looking forward to my next assignments.”

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    The only thing the BoD need to do is provide the funds for players and give the manager some autonomy to strut his stuff. We really do not know anything regarding what is happening behind the scenes but we can judge the quality of our squad and what Emery is doing with them in terms of tactics and getting the best out of the players. So I say let’s focus on that and then it is not too hard to make the right judgements.

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Or, like the BoD, we can stand behind the manager…

    Sorry, I can’t do it…It’s been ugly since the beginning and Emery (answering interview questions by looking at his phone…) has NEVER worked for me…

    TA, I gotta say, I think it’s admirable that you’re able (most games) to watch the football and make suggestions about subtle tweaks that could be made to make it better (and more effective). It’s about the midfield, you say, and I agree…let me explain…

    Arsenal, if nothing else, is a business now. And, as a business, Emery making “changes” to our “midfield” is where all the opportunity (for cuts) seems to be. You suggest that the Ramsey situation was mismanaged but I think it went EXACTLY to plan. They made an offer, it all looked good for Rambo signing it, but then they (management) pulled it off the table. Next up, Ozil has been frozen out (as much as possible–Xhaka joining him now, thanks to the “fans”…) and Torreira, decent value for money, in the market, perhaps is being asked to play more forward (to replace Ozil, longer term?) but also maybe because he’s not quite Santi-esque in his ability to help out in deeper spots. Now, in tears, he seems next up for a move away. Then there’s the golden boy, Guendouzi, promising for his age, but the keener observers note the trouble there. He could (as Admir suggests) be worth something in the transfer market (at exactly the moment his agent demands a newer, better contract). All told, it’s not quite completely hollowed out, but just about…

    As such, Emery–at his interview, I’m guessing–saying that we don’t (even) NEED midfielders as we’re just gonna sit back,then send it wide (and/or long) and put it (directly, or at least boom-boom) into their net–had to sound good to (the) Kroenke(s) and Raul (at the time), their eyes lighting up with ideas about the $$$ (to be) saved… Let the other team shoot it…It’s about goals, not “creating” chances…and so ends Arsenal as a team known for “creative” football. Or even Arsenal as a “top” team. It was Wenger’s fault we fell out of the top 4, so, instead of pretending we’re better than we are, let’s play like a mid-table team and see if we can be top of THAT group…

    After all, teams like Liverpool “went down” and came back up…Is it all down to Klopp? Perhaps (Rodgers wasn’t good enough, right, even if, perhaps he set the stage for Klopp’s success). We tried, the Wonder of You, but it didn’t quite turn into YNWA…

    Which brings me back again to the mirror…

    I’m pleased that you (and others, not here but in previous posts) have picked up on my (at) Arsenal, You Will (always) Walk Alone theme, which I believe is the true heart of the matter. We HAD a great manager–or at least one who understood the value in looking beyond his own personal interests and thinking of others at the club–and WE (the fans, or naffs, if you look in the mirror…) got him sent off (though not cheaply, I must add). The Krankies appear unwilling to (give up that kind of money) do THAT again…but at least they’re not gonna go the easy route and install a prettier face (with a LOT less hair, i.e., Freddy)…

    So, just as Xhaka said to the “supporters” (booing him off the pitch, most likely for the final time in an Arsenal kit), the BoD is saying a giant Feck Off to the fans, (almost) all of whom are demanding Emery’s head Good times… and now (or again…) we’ve got a pitched battle between the fans and ownership/management. But (I ask myself) where are the videos of fans burning their season tickets?… Or maybe they’d have to burn their phones (do Arsenal still use paper tickets?…) which is one thing I don’t believe we’ll see…

    OK, nuff said, hang in there, etc., etc… 😀

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers 17HT, I am not having any of that but I am sure you expected that from me. Of course Arsenal FC is a business but success is what drives up the income and share price. I don’t believe in so called schemes to not have a midfield or getting rid of expensive midfielders purely from a financial point of view. But maybe I am naïve.

    Now IF Emery was doing well with the likes of Guendouzi, Willock and Ceballos and thus made us forget about our quality and experience midfielders, I would feel a bit more for your thinking, but as it isn’t I reckon it is too cynical. There is much more evidence that Emery just cannot get the (balance in) midfield right and in the process he is actually destroying a lot of value in our experienced, quality midfielders. They are also under contract and hold all the power… May as well work with them rather than against them…

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Prediction Game:
    Albania v Andorra
    Brazil v Argentina (Friendly)
    Hungary v Uruguay (Friendly)
    Northern Ireland v Netherlands
    Republic of Ireland v Denmark
    North Macedonia v Israel

  26. Erik the Red says:

    Been on manoeuvres for a few days hence little blog activity.

    Fine post TA. I watched the Leicester game and until they scored it was an end to end exciting game – we could etc etc..

    IMO the BoD is wrong to hold onto Emery. The fans know it, the players know it and so does Emery – he is a dead man walking. So why delay the inevitable? Is it economics? If so, seeing AFC struggle to make the Europa places in front of a half empty stadium may well give them cause to reconsider.

    ROI Vs Dk. Massive

  27. jw1 says:

    Never thought I’d see a purpose for the second coming of Arsenal Fan TV.
    But here it is… already.

    jw1

  28. jw1 says:

    Most ironic. Just after making the above comment off-hand about AFTV?
    I come across this in ‘The Athletic’ by David Ornstein (his daily report on PL happenings).
    “Ornstein on Monday: doubts over Aubameyang captaincy…”

    Excerpted:
    “In keeping with protocol, Emery turned to the next member of his leadership group — Aubameyang. Yet, in what looks to be a no-win situation for the under-pressure boss, even that move has caused an element of consternation.

    Having scored 50 goals in 78 appearances since joining from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, nobody doubts Aubameyang’s value or likability at Arsenal. But a bizarre situation has developed in his time with the Gunners to leave some questioning his suitability for the role.

    The 30-year-old striker is said to have irritated some people by developing a relationship with AFTV, the YouTube channel that calls itself the “Unofficial Voice of Arsenal fans around the world”.

    Many at the club believe the growth of AFTV, formerly known as ArsenalFanTV, has contributed to an upsurge in negativity towards the team and specific players from sections of the support.

    Sources suggest Aubameyang was “so smart” to strike up a rapport with the channel and express a view that in “promoting” the content, he is effectively endorsing and encouraging more of it to be produced, and making himself immune to criticism even if his performance level drops.

    The Gabon international appearing to “like” a number of contentious AFTV posts on Instagram, including one in June criticising Emery and another in September calling for Xhaka to be sold in the next transfer window, is said to have left team-mates and staff unimpressed.”

    * * *

    Don’t believe I have ever commented on AFTV– until today.
    If this is a sign of Emery trying to make proper decisions to turn things around?
    It’s one more bad sign. 📛

    jw1

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    My main thing is that somebody (anyone…) needs to take responsibility for the situation. It should be the owner (who hires the management team, ostensibly) but, clearly (IMO) ownership is all about the bottom line…

    So then it’s on Raul and his staff, including Emery. And Emery puts it onto the players…as long as they try and play his system–which to me looks like it sees midfielders as a 2nd line of defenders and full/wingbacks as the real suppliers of balls for the scorers. If Emery is safe, then management (and ownership) don’t see value in going another route…

    The football is ugly but maybe had “value” in being so extremely anti-Wenger (and his ideas)…and, in showing (if it were to “succeed,” which it did, at least in terms of points in the league last season), that Wenger’s high-priced players (at least of the midfield variety) weren’t so necessary.

    It’s all a mess and I’ve been ready for Freddy (hey, that rhymes…) since the moment he took over for Bould…

    With the board standing up for Xhaka, maybe the manager(s) will too and maybe that will create some fun (or at least drama)…

    In the meantime…

    Albania v Andorra = home win
    Brazil v Argentina (Friendly) = home win
    Hungary v Uruguay (Friendly) = draw
    Northern Ireland v Netherlands = draw
    Republic of Ireland v Denmark = home win
    North Macedonia v Israel = home win

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    For some reason, I keep thinking about this song…

  31. njk84sg says:

    If the losses and the draw persists the board cannot just let it rot through this season. Somebody has to go. The tactics are evident that it is flawed, but Emery just did nothing to rectify. Fred has to stand up for this and give Emery (i will call him Lomery) his take on better tactics.

  32. jw1 says:

    Some coincidence HT. Seems we’re (ahem) striking the same chord?
    Tim from 7amkickoff posted an in-depth statistical analysis on Arseblog today.
    https://arseblog.news/2019/11/the-7amkickoff-index-arsenal-have-been-here-before-and-failed-to-act/
    He mentioned how the BoD didn’t act early to change with AW– and so– likely not to with Emery.

    My post/reply:
    “Meet the new board,
    (Not the) Same as the old board…

    There’s no cross-generational memory between this existing group of decision-makers and the ones that did not act to oust Wenger earlier. Raul hadn’t left Barca, Vinai was the CCO. There’s no lesson to be taken by anyone except Josh Kroenke.

    And it occurs he’s getting plenty of smoke up his skirt right now.”

    jw1

  33. njk84sg says:

    After the toxic Wenger out saga in our history this is the worst call for a manager or head coach to get so much flak for not winning games for a spell.

    This comment is not to side with anyone, Emery out brigade or with Emery himself.
    I understand the nous to stick by Emery, just as the board stuck with Wenger through ups and downs for 22 seasons, they chose to stick with Emery.

    Let’s have a cool head weighing different options. Will we be winning 26 remaining games and also the Europa League if we get a new manager in? Will he be spot on in his tactics and turn things around? Will he be given more time like Wenger had? Will our team be comfortable with new formations?

    It is evident that we haven’t been able to shake off Wenger’s formation and how we play. The fast paced pressure and box to box play is what we were strong in, and over the years Barca and us we on the decline due to more and more teams understanding our tactics well and we had tried to change something but tried to stick to the same tiki taka formation but at times we were solid and at times we were liquid.

    The point is that Emery is trying to play his own style but sacrificing some of the core stuff that was there in the midfield when Vieira and Petit were playing: when one bombs forward, 2 were protecting the back and the team were positioned closer to each other in a way where the opponent cannot get pass too many players without getting tackled in the end.

    The way Emery played his team were evident: Attack and Defence. The defenders did not stick close to the midfield and attack, and were too deep. This became an opportunity for the opponents to defend deep and break forward easily and catching our defenders flat footed with no one in midfield running back quickly enough. If we can get this tight formation right we will be winning games and having a strong core.

    I am not saying that we will get it right with or without Emery, but the compactness is key to winning.

  34. njk84sg says:

    I just remembered. Victoria Concordia Cresit is translated to Victory Through Harmony.
    It does not simply mean that when the team is playing compact and as one we will keep winning. The fans have to back the team too. It takes 2 to clap and we should get behind the team.

  35. jw1 says:

    I dunno jk
    Emery plays like a poor-man’s Mourinho. A playing style straight out of the late-00s.
    Even Mourinho can’t squeeze anything from it any more. Maybe in one of the leagues that is not quite so financially deep– that you might expect to win a higher percentage on just talent alone.

    But not here. Not in today’s PL.

    jw1

  36. njk84sg says:

    Jw1, as much as all of us wants the team to win, we have to stick behind the team through thick and thin. This time round we see more and more joining the Emery out brigade, but i personally don’t want to get involved. I admit I was being emotional a few weeks ago, but after some thinking through I better think through with a cool head of the consequences.

  37. Admir says:

    I tried to become Vinai San-Edu-llehi, a superior creature with six arms, three heads and one major headache. I tried to write down the reasons for their support for Enemy.

    1) If they fire Enemy, they will admit fans control the club indirectly and the whole Xhaka fiasco was one too many.

    2) Whoever gets Enemy’s job, he has to accept that the team is psychologically on the lowest level in years and generally confused. There is no clear structure of the team with clear Best XI. Furthermore, there is no leader in the team who would take all players to the team building meeting and sweared at them, yelled at them and possibly even beat them until they realize what we are supposed to do on the pitch.

    3) Enemy didn’t get his job by accident – he was appointed for his EL trophy haul as the club hierarchy have noticed in the last Wenger’s year that EL is the easiest road to Champions League.

    4) It’s a fact that Arsenal haven’t been lucky with VAR (Sheffield, Bournemouth, Palace) and that with three additional points we have been robbed of, we would have been in a much better position (20 points, just five points off Man City and six points off the second place).

    5) The notorious “Man United and Spurs are even worse than us” have fallen to the good ground at the club hierarchy because it is the fact we are above both Man United and Spurs which means two clubs from the provisional Top Six which leaves us on the fourth spot among Top Six. Perhaps they think we can keep those two behind us while catching both Sheffield and Leicester.

    6) Arsenal have brought a lot of (too many?) players since Enemy’s arrival that need to be bed in while Bellerin, Holding, Tierney and Pepe didn’t go through preseason with the club.

    7) Players have been generally upset with the whole Özil and Kolasinac attack – they have families of their own and there is at least subconscious fear it might happen to them as well.

    8) Enemy gives a lot of playing time to young players – Willock, Guendouzi, Martinelli, Saka – with a huge resale value.

    9) If we get a replacement for Enemy, our new guy will have to justify both the severence money for Enemy and his own paycheck. He has to be both mentally strong enough to bring players up quickly and mentally weak enough to listen what Raul and Edu tell him to do.

    10) Of all candidates for Enemy’s replacement:

    -Mourinho is a bad blood, he is well past his prime and yet he will ask for much bigger autonomy than he had at Man United or in his second stint with Chelsea. He would also get a hostile reception from a significant part of our fan base;

    -Allegri doesn’t speak English, his football is slow (patient, said the optimist) and ugly (beautiful inside, said the optimist) yet successful. The problem is, everyone can win Serie A with Juventus;

    -Luis Enrique has gone through an awful period – his little daughter passed away recently – and he doesn’t need another stressful thing in his life even if he is suited for the job on the ground of the football brand he represents;

    -Freddie Ljungberg would have been given a credit by the fans due to his playing status at Arsenal, he did manage U23 last season so he has a perfect insight into our youth team, he is already employee of the club but his experience is limited to being an assistant to Enemy in the worst Arsenal start in the last 37 years and to our ex-guy Jonkers at Wolfsburg in another terrible spell;

    -Arteta is at City with Guardiola and he might be earmarked by the City hierarchy as Pep’s heir once Pep’s era ends. Even if he was available, he doesn’t have any managerial experience.

    Now I need to rest my head a bit. It was a painful experience.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent comment, Admir.

    Until they find the right person and know they will get them… they will support the current manager. Don’t throw away your old shoes until you have got your new ones…

  39. Erik the Red says:

    Some great stuff to read today. Thank you to all who commented.

    Why is no-one talking about UK/PL managers as the next step forward? The beardy bloke at Wolves has done an amazing job, as has Eddie Howe.

    I don’t want Allegri, Enrique or Mourinho – they are managers who coach established stars and rarely develop through the youth system. Our next manager will have to, especially if Laca and PEA refuse to commit to new contracts.

    Can AFC take the risk and trust an inexperienced manager? It would be a bold decision (Arteta/FL)

    It would be great if we could persuade Ten Hag from Ajax but I guess he will be Spain or BM bound.

    In the meantime we have to suffer the awful fare delivered by a team who have no clear purpose or plan. 4th is a distant shore.

  40. jw1 says:

    Do like the Admir(able) perspective.
    No harm in trying to ascertain reasons and reasoning.
    Though Arsenal’s situation, taken by itself– makes so little sense on the business side, including their handling (ostracizing) of their most-expensive players.

    As is my norm, I try to get a top-down view from altitude– and spice it with a bit of a different spin:

    “Nine years ago, baseball fans of the Houston Astros– watched as the front office dismantled the team in short order. In the course of 12 to 18 months. All veterans, anyone making a scintilla of money was traded for whatever could be had (draft picks the preferable coin).

    Probably the best pitcher on the team, Bud Black, was traded to the Orioles during a series in Baltimore. Black just stayed in town. Didn’t return with the team to Houston.

    While Houston burned the team down– in order to rebuild it the right way? They took grief from all corners. Rightfully so. Baseball execs, agents, other players, their labor union– all denigrated the club– and those doing the deeds. The team lost over 400 games from 2010-2013. Without relegation as a fear– finishing last was little different than any other place.

    And it worked. Houston won the World Series in 2017 (lost this season dammit!)– and is now considered among the best teams in MLB. The Astros model became the method that many sports organizations have tried to emulate to ‘start over’. By getting rid of all remnants at the club– and rebuilding with youth (high draft picks awarded from low finishes).

    +++

    The differences in how U.S. sports leagues are configured makes ‘tanking’ a possibility. An example, the NFL Miami Dolphins publicly announced their intentions months before this current season started. The process is accelerated starting from scratch– or as close to it as possible. Selling or trading off assets for whatever can be had. Spend as little as possible on whatever is needed to field a team.

    The difference? In world football there’s relegation. You actually can’t just burn a club down. Or you go down. This adds time to the equation of a rebuild. A club has to retain a semblance of mediocrity– competitiveness.

    +++

    There is no more captive audience than football/soccer fans. We love our club– (almost) no matter what.
    If Arsenal– is– moving to sell off their assets? To effect a non-relegation tank-job? With the experience of having seen it done, this, is what the beginning of it might look like. Making moves and decisions that simply make no sense short-term.

    Like sticking with a terrible manager– no matter how poor the results, how negligent the tactics, or droll the team plays.

    Buying time it seems– before the obvious becomes so?”

    jw1

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Erik, I have mentioned the ‘beardy guy’ – Nuno of WW – and others have pointed out Eddie Howe whom I would also welcome to the Home of Football. Ten Hag is more likely to be Bayern bound. He has worked there before and they rate him/ the Dutch way of playing attacking football. He would be great at Arsenal… but the BoD would have to do more than wave a chequebook..

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Another interesting theory, JW. I doubt it very much but who knows how crazy the BoD could be. I reckon if this was the stated or envisaged strategy lives would be at risk here. The supporters would never accept it, especially with a manager who may promote young players but doesn’t then get the best out of them… a recipe for disaster if you ask me, but an interesting insight in American sport culture and strategy..

  43. Erik the Red says:

    It would be great to see any club in the PL attempt the Astros route. Sadly it is ever going to happen.

    I imagine stripping the club of all it’s players over 25 y.o!

    Macey
    Hector Chambers Holding Tierney
    Douzi Torreira Willock
    Pepe Martinelli Saka

    Bench: Iliev Smith Rowe, Nelson Mavropolous Balugan

  44. jw1 says:

    TA– I agree that the fans wouldn’t stand for it. But it won’t be a stated thing. They’d continue making odd, then weird, then bizarre decisions. The essence of the matter is buying time– before the fans come with torches and pitchforks.

    To have stated that they are 100% behind Emery– for another 18 months?! Is the first fashion of doing so. The longer it can be drawn out as lunacy– before it’s identified as a strategy? Is part of.

    You don’t think selling off £140M of 30-something strikers isn’t making Raul salivate? Think again. There’s over £225-250M of veteran talent that will be wanting out by next Summer. Maybe sooner.

    jw1

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    We’ll see, JW. It does sound far-fetched to me, but you carry the same passport as our owner and maybe you know something I don’t! 😀

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    You are in fine form, Erik. 🙂

    Oh and JW, £140m for a 30 year old is a no-brainer. But that is unlikely to happen, especially now are playing pants… Auba has some fine stats but very few would pay more than we paid for him, I reckon.

  47. goonereris says:

    For the prediction game, I guess it’s safe to take it the team on the left side is “home”, for the friendlies (most friendlies are on neutral grounds):

    Albania v Andorra. Home
    Brazil v Argentina (Friendly). Home
    Hungary v Uruguay (Friendly). Away
    Northern Ireland v Netherlands. Away
    Republic of Ireland v Denmark. Home
    North Macedonia v Israel. Draw

  48. jjgsol says:

    Of course, we sack managers, like everyone else,

    It is only because of AW’s longevity that we have not done it for a long time.

    All teams do it when they feel the time is ripe.

    Clearly our board has not decided that the situation is bad enough.

    I hope they do not leave it too late.

    Also, I suspect that the Xhaka situation must be more than just because of his mouthing a swear word at the crowd.

    There must have been a row with UE, when strong words were used, no doubt in UE’s direction and he took offence.

    That might explain why from being reasonably supportive he has become the exact opposite and suggested that Xhaka will not play for us again.

    One again it shows that the y0unger players know which side of the bread is buttered and do what they are told, whilst the older more experienced ones are reacting and, as we know, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    As UE antagonises the older and senior players, his position becomes more untenable.

    The board need to watch this carefully and should already be working on the replacement if they have any sense.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    jjgsol, fine comment. You should comment here more.

  50. goonereris says:

    jjgsol, great point made and you may be on to something there. However, it was just headlines being twisted by the Rags to make it look like emery “suggested” Xhaka has played his last game for Arsenal. Far from it.

    The quote saw read: “I spoke with him on Tuesday for how he is feeling now and his mind because he is training well, but he said to me he can’t play. We are going to wait.”. That sounds more like the club is willing to wait till he is right before re-introducing him into the thick of things. He is such a crucial part of the way we play in midfield, but is most unappreciated (unless by the managers and some discerning fans) because he plays without much fuss and isn’t the quickest.

    We’ll see what happens after the international break.

  51. jw1 says:

    Meant both Auba and Laca in that valuation TA.

    jw1

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Ok JW, understood.

  53. Erik the Red says:

    Alb H
    Br D
    Hu A
    NI A
    ROI A (of course!)
    NM H

  54. njk84sg says:

    Emery will hold out until the end of the season at the earliest.
    We will see how the remaining games pan out. Will not be aiming for much though.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Albania v Andorra: home
    Brazil v Argentina (Friendly): draw
    Hungary v Uruguay (Friendly): away
    Northern Ireland v Netherlands: draw
    Republic of Ireland v Denmark: draw
    North Macedonia v Israel: draw

  56. jw1 says:

    Albania v Andorra = H
    Brazil v Argentina (Friendly) = H
    Hungary v Uruguay (Friendly) = A
    Northern Ireland v Netherlands = A
    Republic of Ireland v Denmark = D
    North Macedonia v Israel = D

    jw1

  57. goonereris says:

    https://sports.ndtv.com/football/fifa-announces-arsene-wenger-as-chief-of-global-football-development-2132082

    Interesting news. Must be the reason why the man has been beaming all about and could ask Bayern to shove it (okay, not quite literarily).
    Wenger will be good for world football.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    I guess that is my theory of Wenger as interim over with… for now! 🙂

  59. jw1 says:

    Hope…

    🙂

    Real optimism? Nah, unlikely.
    Sarcasm? Hmm, more than likely…
    Spiking your espresso? Can’t hurt, can it? 😉

    Blaming? Yeah, what generally happens something enjoyable is wilfully crushed into gravel — then passed off as the new standard.

    jw1

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